Review: John Russell is restless, a free-lance journalist in post-war Europe. The world as he had come to know it has changed, but for the better or worse he does not know. The hated Nazis and their atrocities are in the past, but new dangers lurk in the future, ones that seem just as ominous to John. The United States and Russia have taken a dominant role in deciding what is to come with Berlin being the center of their — and the world's — attention. John would like nothing more than to remain with his family, when he's called upon once again to participate in a covert assignment in Lehrter Station, the fifth mystery in this series by David Downing.
Reluctant to leave his girlfriend Effi and their son Paul after having been separated from them for so many years, he arranges for her to be employed as an actress filming in Berlin as he goes undercover while Paul remains in London with John's brother Thomas. John's task isn't complicated: use his network of contacts to get a sense of what's considered "acceptable" to the Germans and what isn't. Of course John knows that it is more complicated than that, that he's merely a minor player in a much bigger game. But there are no rules to this game, and the Americans and Russians are clearly at cross-purposes, each trying to out-maneuver the other while trying to gain an advantage on the world stage.
Readers who have followed along with John Russell through the first four books of this series may be disappointed at the lack of a substantial storyline in Lehrter Station. As with the previous books, there is a powerful sense of time and place here, one of the most compelling aspects to the series. And while the strong characters are always interesting and well drawn, there isn't much from a plot perspective to draw the reader in. Maybe, like this period in history, this is a transitional book, one that gives John an opportunity to set the stage for a new phase in his life, something that will be explored — with hopefully a bit more action and intrigue — in the next of the series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Lehrter Station.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Lehrter Station for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Press (Hardcover), April 2011
ISBN-13: 9781569479179; ISBN-10: 1569479178
Soho Press (Hardcover), June 2013
ISBN-13: 9781616952235; ISBN-10: 1616952237
Location(s) referenced in Lehrter Station: Berlin, Germany
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Lehrter Station by David Downing — A John Russell Mystery
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: May 2012
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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